Vakyavritti by Shankara Acharya Verse 1
To Him who is the sole cause of the genesis, preservation and withdrawal of the world, who is the only ruler of the universe, who assumes phenomenally the form of the universe of endless multiplicity, who is omniscient, infinite, without any limitation, who is an ocean of limitless bliss, who is the pure realization in its massed form – to that Lord of all prosperity and happiness I offer my salutations.
Contrary to the erroneous interpretation of Deussen and his Indian followers, the Absolute (Brahman) of Vedanta is not ‘almost nothingness’; it is positive, negative and yet transcendental.
In this verse, which is meant to be a text for serious meditation by students of Vedanta, the holy Acharya describes some aspects of the Absolute.
We must meditate on Brahman as described in this verse, and then, when our reflection is ripe, we will realize the nectar of bliss in this very life.
One of the highest practices for the realization of the ideal of Vedanta is the reflective repetition of ‘I am Shiva, the highest good’.
It is not something to be grafted on to the immature mind, but it is the realization of the highest good, which is man’s Self.
This verse contains the meaning of the word ‘Shiva’.
The aspirant should take into his mind that part of the verse which enumerates the attributes given to, the Lord by the human mind and identify his own soul with them.
The higher form of adoration is identification with the object of meditation.
When the mind becomes one with the object which it reflects upon, it is merged in the object as a wave, rising from the water, ultimately subsides in it.
Mere mechanical repetition of ‘I am Shiva’ is not very useful; it must be reflective and meditative.
To keep the controlled mind on the best and the highest, the Yogi meditates on ‘I am He, He am I’.
This verse gives a method of realization. It is a way to inner peace. It is the best exercise.
Brahman is called here ‘the Lord of Shri’. The word ‘Shri’ is taken by some commentators to mean Lakshmi.
The meaning is that He is the source and giver of all prosperity – that is, joy, peace, virtue and illumination.
This verse can be interpreted both in abstract terms and in terms of the conception of Shri Vishnu found in the philosophy of Shri Ramanuja Acharya.